My first kiss was with Katie Patterson in the shed in her garden two doors down from my childhood home. Her big sister had locked us in there and there were half a dozen kids outside too, all of whom knew there was a mutual crush going on between us and were determined to force the issue. We weren’t to be allowed out until we kissed, so we puckered up, touched lips briefly, blushed furiously and emerged triumphantly into the sunlight as changed people.
Over the next several years I honed and improved my kissing technique, learning from every bad experience and refining accordingly. Not too much pressure, nor too little. Make sure your lips aren’t Sahara-dry, but not Jabba the Hutt wet either. Don’t just poke your tongue out and move it around in a weird circular motion, but don’t try and taste their tonsils either.
I have to say that kissing is now one of the things I pride myself on. I’ve been complimented on it many times, which is lucky as I enjoy doing it. Many people do, of course, which is what makes that first kiss such a big deal. The moment when you both decide this is more than simply a pleasant evening out and actually quite fancy each other.
If it goes well it can seal the deal, turning what was just a date into the start of something much more than that. Usually it is a little tentative, as you both work out as quickly as you can how the other person kisses and adjust accordingly. You notice how their lips feel against yours, how firmly they press against you, how their tongue feels and how they breathe. Do they close their eyes? Where do their hands go? Do you hold them close, or keep the hold you have on them? Before you know it your hand is behind their head at the top of their neck, entwined in their hair and the rest of the world has stopped turning around you. All that matters is that you are there with them in a never ending moment of perfection.
Or it’s a slobby, washing machine disaster of a snog outside Greggs which you regret as soon as you realise what’s happening.
The thing is, you never know what type of kisser someone is until you actually kiss them. Trying to guess in advance is as accurate as guessing their favourite perfume or aftershave by asking what pub their grandfather used to drink at. Like tasting a chilli to find out the level of spice, you just have to close your eyes and give it a go rather than rely on looks alone.
And, like it or not, it makes a big difference to most of us. Kissing is such a big part of most relationships that finding out someone is a bad kisser can put an end to what might otherwise be a good thing. I’ve had first kisses which have been like hoovers, with the other person trying to suck the life force out of me like a dementor from Harry Potter. Other’s have involved more drool than a Saint Bernard, or knocking teeth enough that I thought I’d dislodge a filling.
But sometimes you find that person whose kissing style meshes with yours so perfectly that you wonder how anyone could even think about kissing differently. You breathe and move in rhythm, hands finding themselves in the right place and eyes not even thinking about opening as your senses simply couldn’t take any more input than is being expressed through that kiss. Those kisses are the ones you remember, which make you want to kiss more and leave you smiling at lunchtime two days later simply remembering them.
There is no right way to kiss, and no right way to approach that first kiss, though there are definitely wrong ways. But you will never know unless you try. Next time you are wondering, pucker up and move close to see what happens. You might just lose yourself forever without realising it, but even if you don’t at least you won’t have Katie Patterson’s big sister standing outside teasing you for the next fortnight.